Monday, 6 January 2014

Bridget Jones's Diary book vs film

Alcohol units - 0 (it's Monday!), cigarettes - 0, calories - no idea, years it took me to read Helen Fielding's hilarious Bridget Jones's Diary - far too many!

Every now and then I do things backwards and see the film before reading the book. In the case of delving into Bridget Jones's Diary, I watched the film, the sequel and the entire 90s series of Pride and Prejudice over and over long before finally purchasing the book and seeing what all the fuss was about.

From the opening page, Bridget Jones is a brilliantly 'real' character unlike any I had ever read and the result is a book which is easy, fun and adorable to read. Unlike recent first person stories which have infuriating inner monologues, Bridget is so hilarious and so honest that even when she is moping you want to hug not hit her as she dwells on issues with family, work and of course - her love life.

What a marvellous creation!

For me, the book is an incredibly witty insight into the pressures of life in your thirties and being single - and I cannot figure out why it took me so many years to read the thing! Except perhaps that I needed to be in my thirties to fully appreciate it. 

The only let down in the book was that her happy ending involved a guy which - after a book so consumed with trying to be happy all on your own - seemed a little ridiculous. Though I hear the sequel deals with that 'happy ending' rather well...

The film, on the other hand, is a great, silly and enjoyable film which places much more emphasis on the comedic battle between Daniel and Mark - who are both vying for her attention - than the book does. It doesn't forget its star, however, and does a brilliant job of portraying an erratic, on-edge and entirely loveable Bridget Jones. 

Played by Renée Zellweger, who famously had to gain weight for the part, the film follows her ups and downs with great fun and sincerity. The mad and totally loyal friends are always on hand, as are the interfering mother and doting father. The mad boss, the embarrasment, the constant attention paid to dieting and alcohol consumption is also relentless.

Though Mark does not appear quite so often in the novel, I don't think anyone could fault the inclusion of Colin Firth and Hugh Grant and that infamous fight sequence. The only part I take issue with is why they altered Bridget's mother storyline which was far more interesting in the novel - unless they had always planned on taking a certain Mark element and plonking it in the middle of the film sequel.

Book - 4/5
Film - 3/5

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